The Lakers’ most realistic trade goal after the first month of the season
The Los Angeles Lakers are only a month into the 2022-23 NBA season, but their playoff hopes are already slipping away. The team is just 5-10 in 15 games, and it seems clear that the current roster just isn’t good enough to compete in the Western Conference. The only option is an exchange. The Lakers are desperately trying to hold on to their last two first-round picks (2027, 2029), but is the organization willing to trade this Lakers season — one of LeBron James’ last — for those picks? Otherwise, it is time to return to a trade that would have been available out of seasonand making Buddy Hield and Myles Turner of the Indianapolis Pacers the Lakers’ top trade target.
Buddy Hield and Myles Turner
Prior to the start of the season, the reported trade between the Lakers and Pacers was guard Buddy Hield and center Myles Turner for Russell Westbrook and the two first-round picks. A month into the Lakers season, general manager Rob Pelinka has to call, call Pacers general manager Chan Buchanan, and while the phone is ringing, cross your fingers that this offer is still available.
For starters, let’s be clear that not every Lakers trade target can be a one-time target. They have to be targets, in the plural.
The 2022-23 Lakers aren’t one-player, and one of their biggest weaknesses so far is their depth. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are both playing over 34 minutes this season, and that’s a recipe for injury to one or both as the season progresses.
Additionally, players playing double-digit minutes for LA include Matt Ryan, Max Christie, Wenyen Gabriel and Austin Reaves. And no, that’s not the Summer League roster. These are the real Lakers 2022-23 live.
In addition to improved depth, the Lakers need 3-point shooting and rim protection. The current team is last in 3-point percentage this season, shooting a meager 31.2 percent from behind the arc. And they’re giving up the 12th-most points in the league (114.2) while opponents are shooting 54.1 percent from 2 points, which ranks the Lakers 18th in the league.
Hield and Turner may not completely solve these problems, but they help a lot.
Buddy Hield is a 3-point specialist who shoots an incredible 40.3% from deep on 9.9 attempts per game. He is also averaging 18.0 points, 3.0 assists and 4.9 rebounds per game. Adding Hield would fundamentally change the way the Lakers play, in a good way. LeBron currently leads the team with 7.1 3-point attempts per game, and no other player has more than 5.1.
Myles Turner would also improve the Lakers in several ways. He is also a good shooter for his size and position. The 6-foot-11 center is shooting 40.0 percent from long range on 3.3 attempts per game. He is averaging 18.2 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. This block count leads the league for players who have played 10 or more games.
Turner’s rim protection is a big reason the Pacers are fifth in the league in 2-point percentage from the opposition, allowing just 50.4 percent on the season. This acquisition would help Anthony Davis enormously. The Lakers big man doesn’t like to play center, and his body isn’t built for that wear and tear. The Pacers big man is the perfect modern center and could easily play next to Davis in the Lakers starting and closing lineups.
the block to give Myles Turner 1,000 on his career.😤 pic.twitter.com/KnqmtLhfYE
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) November 8, 2022
With Buddy Hield and Myles Turner the top targets, if the Lakers are going to give up two unprotected (or lightly protected) first-round picks that, at this point, look like potential lottery picks, they can ask the Pacers a bit. . more too.
With Westbrook’s $47 million salary and about $40 million from Hield and Turner, Pelinka has about $10 million more to play. Veteran point guard TJ McConnell isn’t having a great year by any means (3.7 points, 3.6 assists, 1.1 steals), but with more minutes and playing with a lot more skill than he does. is in Indianapolis, it’s worth the Lakers asking in the deal too.
After 15 games, there’s a chance that Pelinka and owner Jeannie Buss will see the writing on the wall and be unwilling to part ways with these future picks because they could become incredible rebuilding pieces if the Lakers are in the death spiral. as they are inside.
However, if there are any savings this season from the Lakers, it will take a bold move, and this Lakers trade for Buddy Hield, Myles Turner (and maybe TJ McConnell) is just that type of bold move.
Three-point shooting, rim protection, depth and add-by-subtract are keys to an LA turnaround, and this Lakers trade would accomplish four of those things.